By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | April 04, 2017
Last year, on this day, cricket fans in India, woke up from the hangover of a terrific World T-20 Final. The world over, fans were celebrating the success of the West Indies cricket team led by Darren Sammy, singing the Dwayne Bravo hit, “Champon… Champion.”
April 3, 2016, was a night that lit up the Kolkata evening with Calypso fireworks. Carlos Brathwaite exploded on the cricket filed like no other has before him in the final over of a World Cup.
Nineteen needed off the last six balls and what does Carlos do? He Stokes Ben for four huge sixes all over the Eden Gardens to send the Indian crowd at the venue into raptures and all those millions watching on television into euphoria!
Watching the match on television I was reminded of the Nehru Cup final played in India in 1989. Pakistan were in the last over against West Indies and Vivian Richards came on to turn his arm. At the striker’s end was Wasim Akram: Here were two of my favourite cricketers. I was watching them ‘live’ at the CCI (Cricket Club of India), Mumbai.
The penultimate ball of the last over, Akram sent soaring into the stands, raised his arms, and let out a loud yell. Yes, I always liked his style of celebration, especially when he took a wicket.
Brathwaite has a similar primitive style of celebrating. He either thumps his chest with his right fist or raises his arms wide and lets out a yell, like he did on the night of April 3, 2016. As the fourth six disappeared into the stands, Stokes went on his hunches, the entire West Indies bench stormed onto the field, including their women cricketers, while the English cricketers disappeared into the night.
The West Indies’ celebration had caught on like a virus, even before the final; everyone was mouthing “Champion, Champion.” Their lusty hitting in the semi-final against India at the Wankhede Stadium was a precursor of things to follow.
Windies had won the heart of everyone around. But the best was yet to come, From Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels.
Sammy spoke about the way they were treated by their own Cricket Board and how the team rallied together. Samuels dedicated his ‘Man of the Match’ trophy to Shane Warne, who said he could not bat. A little later, not done with Warne, he wondered why Warne did not like him, and then, tongue-firmly-in-cheek he said, “Maybe because my face is more real than his.”
This should shut the ‘whale’ up! Never heard him speak about Samuels since that night!
As for Brathwaite, I am reminded of another Carlos with similar, terrifying power—Roberto Carlos from Brazil. His free-kicks are legendary. He made 38 yards look like child’s play as he slammed his left foot to curl the ball into the rival net, time and again!
Footnote: Darren Sammy is the only captain to have won World T20 twice. He captained West Indies to the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 against Sri Lanka. And for his effort in India and his forthright admission of the mess the West Indies Cricket Board was in, he was given another award…
On August 5, 2016, Sammy was informed he was being dropped as T20 captain of West Indies!